A level set method for structural shape and topology optimization using radial basis functions

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Journal Article
Computers and Structures, 2009, 87 (7-8), pp. 425 - 434
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This paper presents an alternative level set method for shape and topology optimization of continuum structures. An implicit free boundary representation model is established by embedding structural boundary into the zero level set of a higher-dimensional level set function. An explicit parameterization scheme for the level set surface is proposed by using radial basis functions with compact support. In doing so, the originally more difficult shape and topology optimization, driven by the temporal and spatial Hamilton-Jacobi partial differential equation (PDE), is transformed into a relatively easier size optimization of the expansion coefficients of the basis functions. The design optimization is converted to an iterative numerical process that combines the parameterization with a derivation of the shape sensitivity of the design functions, so as to allow using mathematical programming algorithms to solve the level set-based design problem and avoid directly solving the Hamilton-Jacobi PDE. Furthermore, a numerically more stable and efficient volume integration scheme is proposed to implement calculations of the shape derivatives, leading to the creation of new holes which are generated initially along the boundary and then propagated to the interior of the design domain. Two widely studied examples are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed optimization method. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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